How to Make a Game: Vertical Scrolling Game

4027 - A vertical scrolling game made with Unity 3D

4027 icon

In this post I will explain the process that was used to create the vertical scrolling game 4027. The idea came from the simple desire to create a game and add it online for people to play. This was the first game I put online.

The first step of this process was to establish criteria for the game, general guidelines that would help the decisions made during the design process. The criteria that I established was that the game needed to be simple to make so it would have a short production time, it would be developed in Unity3D and it had to somehow be playable for people online.

For the publishing there were a few options which I considered. XBLIG (Xbox Live Indie Games) sounded like a good option for publishing but I didn’t have any previous experience using the development tools and because shorter development time was one of the criteria, I went on to consider other options. Steam was another option that I looked at but my game needed to be simple and those on Steam are usually AAA level games. Another choice was to create a website and upload the game to it. This wouldn’t really work for me because I don’t have near the user base that other options could easily provide.

After determining the criteria, it was time to decide on the design aspects of the game. I started playing different simple games and observing the game mechanics of each one. I tried to identify aspects that made a game either fun or boring. From this initial research, I decided to create a vertical scrolling game.

It was then time for the development to start. The first part of the process was to prototype. The core aspects of the game needed to be implemented to create a foundation which the game would be later built upon. Basically, the prototype had a square (spaceship) that could move around using the arrow keys and a sphere (meteor) that descended and had to be avoided by the square.

Once the basic prototype was created and functioning properly, other features were added. This included adding multiple meteors that spawned automatically and a score based on time played. The last step of the development process was to polish the game. This included the addition of the following items: a menu with instructions, background music, graphics of the spaceship and meteors, a background and the logo.

Playing the 4027 vertical scrolling game with spaceship and meteors.

4027 Game in Action

After the development process, it was time to upload the game. I chose Kongregate to host the game because it has support for Unity3D files. The account creation and uploading process is really simple and went smoothly.

Lastly, there is the post-production phase where feedback is received and decisions are made about revisions and updates. The big user base on Kongregate allowed for more plays than the game would have received had it been posted on a personal website. The game got a couple hundred plays in a day or two. A handful of players left feedback that helped with bug fixes and updates.

Going through the whole pipeline of the development process of a game and then publishing it was a very rewarding experience in my game designing journey. Getting to better know the process and learn hands-on the techniques helped me better refine the knowledge I had before this experience.

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